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these matters resolved? look, the biggest problem confronting the country is not taxes, it's spending. we don't have this problem because we tax too little. we have it because we spend too much. we now have a $16.4 trillion national debt, as big as our economy. that alone makes us look a lot like greece. this administration has driven spending from 21% of our economy up to almost 25% of our economy. we've got to stop using the credit card, and any opportunity we have to engage the other side in a discussion about quitting the spending spree, we're going to engage in. >> and the question is, how do you follow through on your strategy, and, you know, a lot of your allies are worried about that prospect. "the wall street journal" editorial page said "the political result would be far worse if republicans start this fight only to cave in the end. you can't take a hostage you aren't prepared to shoot. do the two gop leaders have a better strategy today than they did in 2011?" and i guess you're hearing that phrase more and more now, shoot the hostage. are you prepared to do it, to see the country
think as far as what we -- the contingent we have after 2014, i would wait and i don't know of any reason why we would make that decision today. it seems that we'd want to see what the state of afghanistan is. we'd want to see what's happening in the electoral process. all of those things are obviously big factors. my sense is there's no reason to decide whether 6,000, 9,000, 15,000 troops until we get to that point. >> but, senator reed, how about by the spring. to simply training and support by the spring? last month's pentagon report said 1 of 23 afghan battalions is capable of operating on its own. >> i was down in the patyka province, and essentially 87% of the operations in the eastern part are initiated and conducted by afghan forces, so we are already seeing a transition and by next spring the afghani forces will be in the lead. that's what our military has been doing and preparing for the last several months, so i think we're making great progress. there are issues ahead in terms of the election, but ultimately this has to be an afghan-led effort. president karzai recogniz
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